Summer Love is the first collection of short stories published by Duet, the young adult imprint from Interlude Press. These short stories are about the emergence of young love of bonfires and beaches, of the magical in-between time when young lives step from one world to another, and about finding the courage to be who you really are, to follow your heart and live an authentic life. The contributing authors have written stories about both romantic and platonic love featuring characters who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, pansexual and queer/questioning. The authors also represent a spectrum of experience, identity and backgrounds.
I asked Amy Stilgenbauer to tell us about her own summer love. Her story is wonderful. Read and enjoy!
Believe it or not, and you’re probably not going to because it falls too perfectly in line with my story, I fell in love at a carnival. Well, actually, it was more of a tiny county fair, but all the little carnival details were there, from the demolition derby (which the person I was there with had never heard of) to the rides to fried food carts. We were there because it was a nostalgic experience for me. I had been complaining that since I moved to the “big city” I had been missing the small town togetherness and especially the summer carnivals. I can count at least ten carnivals that I grew up going to: The Strawberry Festival, Canal Days, Pioneer Days, The Italian-American Festival, The Dandelion Festival, on and on and on. My companion for that day, however, had never even had a fried Oreo before. That was lucky. I got the chance to see something that had always been a big part of my life through someone else’s eyes, which is bound to make a girl like me melt.
Now, we had known each other for about a year, but we didn’t know each other well, and even though it was just the two of us, the festival trip wasn’t meant to be a date. And, it wasn’t—at least at first. It couldn’t have been a date. I wouldn’t have gone if it was. I had just been through an awful break up and I wasn’t ready. Well, until I’m careening my bumper car into theirs and laughing for the first time in a long time. Until we’re sitting around, listening to a terrible classic rock cover band, talking about our lives and getting to know each other. Until we’re failing to win each other stuffed animals even though we both knew better than to try.
I knew something had happened when we were driving home. In the distant, I heard the rumble of thunder. The fact that it made my pulse quicken didn’t come as a surprise. I’m terrified of thunderstorms unless I’m safely stowed away in a basement (blame the tornado that hit when I was ten and camping), but that particular rumble of thunder made me curse under my breath for a different reason. That one disappointed me because it meant I definitely had to go home and the night was over, but that was a night that I didn’t want to end.
Beautiful Monsters By Rachel Davidson Leigh
“Glad to see you could join the party,” Terrence deadpans, pressing a rainbow bandana into André’s hand. André grabs a second bandana out of the bag, stuffs one in each of his back pockets, and then goes in for a third.
“Cody was checking out the parade route,” André replies, in a smooth lie. “It turns out we’re still walking six blocks through absolutely nothing and then calling it a day.” Terrence laughs, and, as he turns away, André presses a handkerchief into Cody’s hand. “Use it wisely,” he whispers into Cody’s ear. “You’re one of us now.”
One of us. He’s never been part of an “us.” Cody stares down at the lines on the handkerchief and then at the two patches of color on the back of André’s jeans as he walks toward the arriving cars.
Cody expects panic, but it doesn’t come. Maybe he isn’t ready to be Gay with a capital G, but if “us” can mean being one of these idiots, then maybe he’s ready to have people of his own. As he watches the sharp sway of André’s hips, the heat rising up his neck doesn’t feel like fear. It feels like… clarity, as though the run put everything in perspective and now he can’t stop seeing André in crisp, dazzling color.
Someone presses a sign into his hand and guides him toward the parade staging area with the rest of the crew. Once again, he can’t hear himself think over the din, but it’s different now. At the meeting, and for years before that in the hallways, he felt like an invader locked out by a wall of sound, and now he’s somehow wandered inside.
About The Authors:
Rachel Davidson Leigh is a writer, educator, and small town native who tells stories she wishes she could have read as a teen. Beautiful Monsters is her first published work of fiction. She lives in Wisconsin with her family and two dogs who are spoiled out of their tiny minds.
Suzey Ingold is a writer, linguist and coffee addict, currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Brought up in a household where children’s books are quoted over the dinner table, literature has always had a strong influence on her life. She enjoys travelling, scented candles and brunch.
Amy Stilgenbauer is a writer and aspiring archivist currently based in southeast Michigan. She is the author of the novelette series, Season of the Witch, as well as the Young Adult novel, The Legend of League Park. When she isn’t writing, Amy enjoys all things bergamot and tries to keep her cats away from her knitting.
Ella J. Ash is a lawyer by day and an author by night. She has been a writer in online fan communities since 2006. She also enjoys dance parties with her family and cooking experimental vegetarian cuisine. She lives in Toronto with her partner, three daughters and four tropical fish.
H.J. Coulter lives in Winnepeg, Canada, where she works as a respite worker and studies music, in hopes of one day becoming a musical therapist. My Best Friend is her professional writing debut.
Naomi Tajedler was born and raised in Paris, where art has always been a part of her life—including painting, restoring books, and working in auctions. She started writing in online fan communities in 2009.
S.J. Martin lives with his partner and their cranky, rotund cat in Washington D.C. He’s a barista by day and a writer by night. He makes a mean cappuccino and lives for good coffee, good books, and good company. The Most Handsome is his first published story.
Caroline Hanlin is a full time statistician, a part time stage manager, and an avid sports fan. She currently resides in Boston, where she enjoys writing during her commute. Something Like Freedom is her first published short story.
Rachel Blackburn is a writer, musician and librarian based in central Ohio. When free from work, she enjoys cuddling with her cats, drinking tea, and baking more cupcakes than necessary. On the Shore is her professional writing debut.
Where To Buy:
Interlude Press: store.interludepress.com
Independent Bookstores: http://www.indiebound.org/book/978-1-941530-36-8?aff=InterludePress
23-Jun: Hearts on Fire, Because Two Men Are Better Than One, Cathy Brockman Romances
24-Jun: Boys on the Brink Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
25-Jun: Up All Night, Read All Day, Happily Ever Chapter, Velvet Panic
26-Jun: Bending The Bookshelf, Mikky’s World of Books, Prism Book Alliance
29-Jun: Bike Book Reviews, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Amanda C. Stone
30-Jun: Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, BFD Book Blog
1-Jul: TTC Books and More, Foxylutely Book Reviews, Bayou Book Junkie
2-Jul: MM Good Book Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads
3-Jul: Emotion in Motion, Love Bytes
6-Jul: Molly Lolly, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, My Fiction Nook
a Rafflecopter giveaway